One of the most significant security threats in the world today is terrorism. Bjorgo and Bjørgo (2016) define terrorism, as the utilization of indiscriminate violence as a tool to create terror, suffering, fear, and death among large masses of people with the primary objective of attaining some political or religious purpose. Many countries across the world are in constant threats of terrorist attacks from religious fanatics, drug lords, and organized crimes players, an issue that has necessitated many governments to form anti-terrorist police departments whose responsibility is to identify all terrorist threats facing their countries and nullify them before the attacks happen. These preventive measures are taken by significant counter-terrorist agencies across the globe to protect citizens against terrorists. Bjorgo and Bjørgo (2016) define counter-terrorism as the measures taken by security agencies to protect their nations against terrorist attacks.
Counter-terrorism usually utilizes military tactics and techniques to fight against terrorists. They also come up with strategies that aim at curtailing any financing attempts that can enable terrorist groups to facilitate their activities. Counterterrorism agencies across the world work with one another in a bid to restrict all terrorist activities. Through the sharing of intelligence information, these agencies can warn other countries of the potential dangers that are imminent, and this has helped reduce the rate at which terrorists have been successful in hitting their targets. The United States, Canada, Mexico, and many countries in the Caribbean and the broader Latin American continent have been faced with the issue of terrorisms for a long time now. This paper will do an in-depth analysis of the threats the countries in these regions face and make a comparison of the measures they should take to protect themselves from the threat of terrorism.
Even though there has been no recent religious or political terrorist threats posed against Mexico and many countries in the Caribbean, an attack cannot be ruled out. History shows that when Islamic terrorist groups cannot attack the mainland United States, then such groups can choose to attack the interest of the United States in soft target countries (Bjorgo & Bjørgo, 2016). In 1998, for example, Osama bin Laden led terrorist group Al-Qaida decided to attack the United States embassies in East African nations Kenya and Tanzania, where more than 300 people lost their lives. It is important, however, to mention that the biggest security threat in Mexico and many other Latin American countries such as Colombia, Bolivia, and Guatemala comes from drug gangs that operate in many of these South American nations.
Mexico has many drug cartels that control most of the country and they are responsible for many deaths (Morral & Willis, 2018). It is estimated that close to 500,000 people have lost lives to these drug cartels, as they fight each other for territory and against the government, which has been trying to break their operation. Major drug cartels in the country include Los Zetas, the Sinaloa Cartel, the Gulf Cartel, and the La Familia Cartel. The cartels were responsible for approximately 90% of all drugs that get into the United States and the deaths that occur in Mexico (Bjorgo & Bjørgo, 2016). These were bleak figures that forced the administration of President Felipe Calderón’ to wage war on the drug cartels to dismantle their operations in the country. This war had mixed outcomes in that it resulted in many deaths in the country as the drug cartels fought back in a bid to preserve their operations. Eventually, many leaders of these cartels such as Joaquín Guzmán Loera of the Sinaloa cartel were arrested and later extradited to the United States where they are expected to face justice.
Just like other developed nations, Canada faces various terrorist threats that have led the government to come up with measures to protect the country and its people. The majority of these threats come from extremist Sunni Islamists who have been terrorizing the states since the 1970s (Bjorgo & Bjørgo, 2016). The tactics these groups use is to kidnap Canadian citizens and try to force the government to do or refrain from doing an activity that will benefit the terrorist group’s agenda. There have also acted violently and bombed people across the country in a bid to push their political or religious agenda in the country (Morral & Willis, 2018). The Canadian people recognize the fact that the Sunni Islamism groups pose the most significant danger to their country. It is also important to mention that despite being put under immense pressure for the past ten years, the Sunni Islamist extremist groups have proven that they can be both resilient and adaptable. The many extremist groups have correctly identified Canada as a good and legitimate target for attacks and they have directly or indirectly taken action that threatens Canada’s domestic and international interests (Bjorgo & Bjørgo, 2016). This is the main reason why successive Canadian governments have come up with tough measures that are aimed at protecting the country from these groups.
The United States is one of the countries in the world that is targeted by many terrorist groups across the globe. Terrorist groups such as Islamic State and Al-Qaida are always trying to devise ways to attack the United States and its international interest across the world. Some of these attempts have succeeded (Morral & Willis, 2018). In 2001 for example, Al Qaeda under the leadership of Osama bin Laden masterminded the most significant terrorist attack on United States soil where major and important buildings were destroyed when planes crashed into them, and in the process, more than 3,000 innocent civilians lost their lives. Many other attacks have occurred in different cities across the country with many more people losing their lives. This shows that the United States is a primary target of terrorist attacks. The country also faces a significant threat from domestic or internal terror groups. Groups such as the Alpha 66 and Omega 7, Army of God, Animal Liberation Front, Black Liberation Army, Sword, and the Arm of the Lord, and the Ku Klux Klan have been perpetuating terror attacks on civilians across the country. Some of these groups have been neutralized, but they continue to come up with attacks that kill many innocent people. The Ku Klux Klan, for example, is a white supremacist group that tends to think that the back people in the United States are unwanted and they should be returned to Africa. This argument stands against the values of the United States that believe that all people are equal irrespective of one’s race.
From the discussion above, the common denominator in the risks faced by these three nations is that they are all susceptible to terrorist attacks that can disrupt the social order and the economy of the countries (Freilich & LaFree, 2017). The three nations have a history of violent crimes and terrorist attacks being meted on innocent civilians. However, the differences in the threats faced by the three countries differ in who perpetuates the attacks. While the Canadian are faced with Sunni Islamic extremist groups, the Mexican face their threats from drug cartels that are well established in terms of weapons and resources making it possible for them to wedge war against the legitimately elected government and the Mexican people (Freilich & LaFree, 2017). The United States is the country that faces significant threats from both domestic and external terror groups, and this means that the government is always on the lookout for any threats. The three governments have formed specialized security agencies that are charged with the responsibility of protecting the country from any terrorist attack. The United States, for example, the have the CIA who have the responsibility of collecting intelligence about terrorist groups and their leaders and passing them over to the military who are responsible for attacking the terrorist group members and killing them (Silke, 2015). The Mexican government, on the other hand, uses the military to attack and fight the drug cartels across the country. The main reason for this is that the government found out that the majority of the police in the country had been compromised by the drug cartels making it hard for them to fight the war on drugs successfully.
One can state that the fight against terrorist attacks in the three countries has been successful in Canada and the United States. Mexico and other nations in Latin America have so far been unsuccessful in fighting against groups reigning terror on their people. The best strategy would be for these countries, and more so, the Mexican government to avail resources to an elite group of disciplined forces and provide them with the necessary resources to fight drug cartels and other terrorist groups in the country (Freilich & LaFree, 2017). The Mexican government should also understand that it could never win the war when working alone.
For this reason, it would be essential for the government to work hand in hand with other governments such as the government of the United States to help them in dismantling these gangs and groups. By working together, the Mexican government can be getting intelligence from their United States counterparts (Hall, 2015). They can act on this information and help prevent attacks being committed on innocent victims. The Canadian government, on the other hand, can work closely with the United States to help protect its international interests across the globe (Freilich & LaFree, 2017). For example, the Canadian government can start contributing more to NATO in terms of money and military personnel. By working under NATO, the government would be able to protect its interest much more quickly from their enemies.
From the above discussion, one can see that the best way to fight against terrorism and other security threats by governments across the world is by working together. By working together, countries across the world would be in a position to gain access to critical intelligence unearthed by one government, and this information can be used to prevent attacks being meted on innocent civilians.
Bjorgo, T., & Bjørgo, T. (2016). Strategies for Preventing Terrorism.New York, NY: Rand
Freilich, J., & LaFree, G. (2017). The Handbook of the Criminology of Terrorism. New York,
NY: Rand Corporation.
Hall, H. (2015). Terrorism: Strategies for Intervention. New York, NY: Routledge.Morral, A., & Willis, H. (2018). Estimating Terrorism Risk. New York, NY: Rand Corporation.
Silke, A. (2015). Prisons, Terrorism and Extremism: Critical Issues in Management,
Radicalisation and Reform. New York, NY: Routledge.
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